In our ongoing series of quickfire interviews of people in the bike industry, we chatted to Helen Gaskell, pro downhiller rider, riding coach and outdoors activity instructor.
She’s been racing since she was just 10 years old, starting in the world of cross country before deciding to follow a career in downhill racing. She obviously had a talent for it as plenty of British National Downhill wins, a Championship win, sponsorship by Intense Cycles (amongst others) and a whole host of podium places at the top level of the sport in events all over the world followed. She’s even turned her hand to enduro racing and took a second place at the legendary Mega Avalanche. Her past year has been plagued by injury but she’s back on form and plans to continue racing downhill and enduros. We’ve got a full interview coming soon, but here are our twenty questions in the meantime…
1. Full name?
Helen Elizabeth Gaskell
3. What job are you supposed to do?
Mountain biker racer, coach guide and leader, freelance outdoors ed teacher
4. What do you actually spend your time doing?
Listening to Katy Perry. Nah, riding, sleeping and trying to play guitar.
5. What kind of riding do you enjoy doing?
Cross country, I love that, massive cross country adventures. Motorbike enduros too.
6. Where’s your favourite place to ride?
7. What is your raddest cycling trick?
Handbrake-skid-turn-ey thing. I’m quite good at wheelying – and splashing people with puddles.
8. What one cycling component changed your cycling life?
Full suspension. Definitely. I hate hardtails. It’s what gave me a bad back.
9. Left foot or right foot forward on descents?
10. Ride to the top or get the shuttle/lift?
Ride to the top.
11. Worst cycling injury so far?
Damaging a disc in my back.
12. If you could go riding with anyone, who would it be?
Just with my friends. All my friends. It’s best when you’re out with your friends…
13. Which cycling destination would you still like to get to?
I’d like to go and do the Cape Epic in South Africa…
14. Slack or steep?
15. Tubeless or tubes?
16. What pressure though?
Between 25 and 30psi.
17. What do you love most about riding?
Just the fact you get out and don’t think about anything else. You can go away from everyone. Speed.
18. What do you hate about riding?
The fact you have to clean you bike afterwards.
19. Cheeky trails or stick to the rails?
20. And finally, give us something that people don’t know about you.
I’m quarter Polish.